Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dish 52 - Grilled Sweet Chilli Chicken Wrap

Grilled Sweet Chilli Chicken Wrap
Ingredients:
Wrap of choice
Cooked, shredded chicken
Mozzarella cheese
Sweet chilli sauce
Coriander, for garnish

(I have not included quantities as this will depend on your individual taste - include as much as or as little as you'd like)

Method:
  1. Lay the wrap down flat and add your desired amount of chicken, cheese and sweet chilli sauce down the middle of the wrap.
  2. Fold each side of the wrap inwards and place on sandwich press/grill and heat until cheese has melted and the wrap is toasted to your satisfaction.
  3. Remove from press and cut in half. Use coriander to garnish and enjoy!
Recipe Source: My own invention, based on a wrap I used to buy at a sandwich bar downstairs from my work... many years ago when I still worked in South Yarra. I've never been able to make this before because I didn't have a sandwich press, but my MIL wonderfully bought one for me as a very early birthday present, so we've been going a little crazy with it since bringing it home last week!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

February 2012 Date Night

The Date Envelope:
Contents:
2 DVDs
Popcorn
Chocolate
"Do You Know Your Wife/Husband?" - A quiz about the woman/man in your life
Menu for Thai Pan - our favourite Thai restaurant

The Plan:
We put Little Spring to bed, ready for our date night in! We pulled the futon mattress off the couch in the spare room and set up the living area with the mattress and heaps of pillows to relax and enjoy a couple of movies! We'd planned to order food from our favourite Thai restaurant and have it delivered, but was disappointed when I went to call them and got a message saying that the number had been disconnected! We didn't want to have to drive to go get our dinner, so decided to have left over meat loaf from another night. Not the most romantic thing, but it's one of Big Spring's favourite meals, so it worked out okay!

While eating dinner, we started watching the first movie. After dinner, we filled in some of our quizzes. Lots of fun for both of us and actually a really good way to get to know each other with questions we've never thought about before!

A really relaxing night, something we both needed and enjoyed. Even though we often watch movies in the lounge room, Big Spring felt it really was a date night because of the effort I put into it and because the room was set up differently. Definitely looking forward to doing this more often - a cheap and easy way to have a date night, even with Little Spring at home (she was good all night so didn't get disturbed by her needing us!).

The Memory:
Okay, still behind on my scrapbooking, but here are some photos of the evening:

The lounge set up, ready for a night in!

Not quite what we'd planned for dinner, but yummy meat loaf!

Chilaxing in front of the TV... very nice indeed!

Dish 51 - Sweet Chilli Chicken Lettuce Cups

Sweet Chilli Chicken Lettuce Cups with Steamed Rice
Prep Time: 20min (plus 1-4hrs marinating); Cooking Time: 35min; Serves: 4
Ingredients:
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 spring onion, thinly sliced, green and white sections separated
500g chicken thigh fillets
Olive oil, for baking

2 cups water
1 cup long grain white rice
12 baby cos lettuce leaves
1 medium carrot, juilienned into 2mm strips
4 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 Tbsp fresh coriander leaves

Method:
  1. To make the marinade, combine soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic and spring onion whites in a large bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-4 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 180oC (160oC fan forced). Remove the chicken from the fridge and place on a lightly oiled baking tray and cook for 30-35 minutes, or until just cooked through. Turn once after 15 minutes.
  3. Bring a small saucepan with the water to the boil and prepare the rice according to packet directions.
  4. Remove the chicken from the oven and stand for 5-7 minutes. Transfer chicken to chopping board, reserving pan juices. Thinly slice chicken into 1/2cm strips and place in a large bowl. Add remaining pan juices to chicken, add spring onion greens and carrot, mix well.
  5. To serve, spoon chicken into lettuce cups, garnish with sweet chilli sauce and coriander and serve with rice.

Recipe Source: Coles Supermarket local catalogue.

Dish 50 - Grandma Ellie's Meatloaf

Grandma Ellie's Meatloaf
Serves: 8
Ingredients:
2 lbs ground beef

2 cups fine, dry bread crumbs

2 Tbsp grated onion

1½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1 cup milk or meat broth


Method:

  1. Mix ingredients well.
  2. Pack in loaf pan.
  3. Bake in 350oF oven about 1 hour

Recipe Source: Grandma Ellie's Recipe Tin

Friday, February 24, 2012

Lent - Giving Something Up or Taking Something On

I hear it every year... "what are you giving up for Lent?" There are many answers for many people. The most common responses I hear are chocolate, Facebook, coffee and technology. That's just a very small list of what I've heard people give up. Do we really know why we give up things for Lent? Is is just something that you do? Tradition?

My obvious vice is chocolate. A couple of years ago, I decided to finally give up something for Lent - chocolate. I made a concerted effort to avoid chocolate. That's harder than it sounds... it seemed to be in everything!

But why did I give it up? Because of what Christ did for me. We are now in the season of Lent, which is preparing us for the death and resurrection of Christ, which is obviously at the heart of the Christian faith.

So what did giving up the chocolate actually achieve? Each time I was given the opportunity to eat chocolate, I was given an opportunity to pass it up. But that's not my achievement - knocking back chocolate. My achievement was in remembering why I was declining the chocolate, bringing my thoughts back to Christ and what He did for me on the cross. His suffering and death. It was truly an amazing few weeks. With so much chocolate around me (I was still working at the time, so it literally was all around me - in my desk drawer, in my work mates' drawers, in the kitchen, in the morning tea that people brought in, not to mention everywhere I turned when I stepped outside!), I was able to reflect on what Easter truly means. I think it was one of the best, most meaningful Lenten periods I'd been through.

I haven't done it since... Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent) seems to sneak up on me each year, so I never have time to think about the lead up to Lent and what I want to give up for the season. So I don't fall into the trap of just doing it because that's what you do, I just haven't done anything. It's always disappointed me that I haven't had the chance for reflection, prayer and thoughts before Ash Wednesday, to get focused like I need.

Having just returned from 10 days in Victoria on Tuesday, I hadn't realised that it was the start of Lent this week, already! So, I felt I'd missed my chance for reflection, again!

However, after hearing what Big Spring's sermon topic was going to be for the Ash Wednesday service, I was renewed in my Spiritual reflection over the Lenten Season. It was a whole new perspective on the Lenten period. Instead of giving something up, I was challenged to take something on. Here is Big Spring's challenge, from his sermon:

"...the challenge for each of you this Lent is to take something on. To pull out your small catechism, dust it off and read from it every day - and then read through the Large Catechism once during Lent. I pray that if you do take this on for Lent that you’d grow in your knowledge of God and His will for your life, grow in your knowledge of the richness of God’s gifts at work in your life and overflow with thanksgiving as you look to your savior and His cross."

That night, he launched the "Big 10" - the 10 Commandments. Over this next week, I'll be reading about the 10 Commandments in both Catechisms... I haven't studied these since my confirmation classes, so I'm excited for the refresher course!

As a short reflection on the 10 Commandments, I want to share with you a few thoughts from Big Spring's sermon (being married to the pastor, certainly has it's benefits - being about to get a hold of the sermon so I can cut and paste!). I will italisise any quotes I copy from the sermon.

When you think about the 10 Commandments, what are you first thoughts? "Thou Shalt NOT"?

What about love? It doesn't really go with the image of Moses shaking in fear in the presence of God on the top of that mountain, with God's big booming voice laying down His rules while thunder and lightening crash as the commandments are etched on the tablets. Maybe I'm alone in that image, but it's what springs to mind in a Charles Heston kind of way! But I digress...

So, love and the 10 Commandments?

"In Matthew 22, Jesus summarized all the Commandments with these words: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (vv 37–40)".

"The first three commandments ... tell you that you are to love God ... with all your heart, soul, and mind. The last seven commandments tell you to love your neighbor as yourself. Love defines how we are to relate to one another."

That gives me a different perspective on the Commandments. Instead of looking at it as a list of rules, it's actually a guide of how to love one another! That seems like a much nicer way of looking at it!

So, that's only a very small bite of Big Spring's sermon, but it's one major mind shift in the way I view the 10 Commandments!

I look forward to taking something on this Lenten season and delving into Luther's Small & Large Catechism.

Are you going to take something on this Lent? Or perhaps you've given something up with deeper meaning than just 'doing it because that's what you do'? I'd love to hear about your Lenten experiences so feel free to share!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

10 Days

One of the reasons I've been so quiet here is because I was in Victoria over the past week and a bit... this is what my trip looked like (I travelled with Little Spring, while Big Spring stayed home as he had church commitments).

Day One (Saturday):
Flew to Melbourne. Picked up at airport by Mum and Dad (it only took 1/2hr to 45mins to get the car seat in properly!) and dropped off at Ben and Rachael's (my brother and his (then) fiancee's house.

Day Two (Sunday):
Helped Ben & Rachael clean their old house (they just moved a couple days before we arrived) and then headed off to Rachael's baby shower.

After a fun afternoon with family, Little Spring and I headed to Hamilton with Mum and Dad for the week.

Day Three (Monday):
Spent a relaxing day at Mum and Dad's... enjoyed playing out in the back yard, and Little Spring especially loved helping Poppa with the gardening!





















Day Four (Tuesday):

Poppa, Little Spring and I drove up to Halls Gap for the day, where we visited the local, privately owned, zoo. Little Spring loved feeding the animals, and cuddling the wallabies!
PS The day wouldn't have been complete without a trip to the Halls Gap Ice creamery. Yum!

Day Five (Wednesday):
Another day of kicking back and relaxing. In the evening, Mum, Little Spring and I visited my aunty (Dad's cousin-in-law) to get some quilting advise. While there, I witnessed the most beautiful double rainbow. Unfortunately the camera didn't pick up the beauty half as much as what I saw with my own eyes, but you get the idea... and I love the foreground "farmscape" that I unintentionally captured while taking a photo of the rainbow.

Day Six (Thursday):
Dad invited Little Spring and me out for lunch, so we took a nice stroll into town...

Waiting for lunch to arrive and the long walk back home while Little Spring collected sticks on the way!

We then settled in for an afternoon of playing cards! Fun! Dad and I played Phase 10", while Little Spring played "Luck Plus" with her bears!

Here she is, dealing out the cards!

video

Day Seven (Friday):
An exhausting day - packing our bags, then packing the car (certainly an accomplishment once it was done!) and then driving to Melbourne (with a slight detour to pick up Mum on the way) for the weekend. Mum and Dad dropped Little Spring and me off at the airport to pick up a hire car that we'd be using over the weekend. Little Spring and I then headed off to Big Spring's parents' house, where we made an already full house, much fuller!

Day Eight (Saturday):
The big day had arrived - the main reason for my trip down south - my brother's wedding! What an amazing, special, long, beautiful day!

Little Spring and I travelled to the wedding via train (it was being held at the Old Treasury Building in the city, so I didn't have to worry about parking)... needless to say, Little Spring loved the ride.

The wedding itself was lovely... a few hiccups, but nothing that we all couldn't laugh about at the time (the celebrant pronouncing my brother's last name wrong, a change of celebrant half way through the ceremony due to illness to name just 2 incidents!)!


After the ceremony, we headed over to the beautiful Treasury Gardens for some photos...

Little Spring and I then headed back to my parents-in-law so she could spend time with her grandparents, cousins and aunts, while I kicked up my heels at the reception! It was obviously a big day for her, as she slept in my lap almost the whole 45 minutes home!

After dropping Little Spring at her grandparents' I headed over to the reception being held at a restaurant and had a wonderful time celebrating with the newlyweds!


Day Nine (Sunday):
A fairly relaxed day with the family. A highlight was visiting the Eltham minature railway. Little Spring loved being on the train with her big cousins looking after her! And the ice cream enjoyed after the ride was delicious and refreshing on the hot day!


Day Ten (Monday):
Nearly time to head home! Today Little Spring and I headed to the Edendale Animal Farm in North Eltham. Little Spring loved seeing more animals and absolutely had a ball at the giant playground on the other side of the farm.

Once we got home, we had some more fun in the sun with water and a tea party:










My mum-in-law and I then had a lovely afternoon out together, having lunch and shopping! We don't think we've ever done that before, just the two of us, so it was quite special.

Later that afternoon, Little Spring and I drove back to my brother and his (now!) wife's house as they were closer to the airport, which meant a shorter drive in the morning to catch our plane!

And that was our ten days away!

Priorities

Life's full of them... priorities. Well, at least a requirement to make priorities of some things over others. That's the story of my life this week, after returning home from a wonderful 10 days away.

Right now, I want to prioritise a nap over other things I need to do. I desperately need some sleep; but we desperately need food in the house (I've been away and Big Spring really embraced batchelorhood while I was gone!) and my Avon clients need their orders picked up and new brochures delivered... I do have an obligation after all - by taking Avon on, I need to look after my clients. It's days like this, though, I wish I didn't have that commitment. I'm not about to quit; it's just the timing of the latest delivery. I'm not one for whinging on my blog... just letting you know where I'm at! Not all days are like this, thank goodness!

Anyway, when I'm caught up on everything (house is looking better, emails have been read through, even if not responded to and I'm off to do grocery shopping and brochure deliveries this afternoon), I'm going to get back on here and get updated on my blog. Here are some things to look out for/forward to:

February's Date Night
My 10 days away
Start a special Lenten 'series'
Finish my "Life in Alphabet!'

Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

When Things Are Too Quiet...

When things are too quiet, they are quiet for a reason... I should have known better. When I'd left her, she was reading quietly in her bedroom. While on the computer, my typing was interrupted by the thought that it was too quiet. Then I remembered, it's okay, she's in her room, reading. I went back to what I was doing.

A little while later, that same thought came back... it was too quiet in the house. This time that thought continued and I couldn't dismiss it so easily... it's been too quiet for too long.

My stomach dropped... what was Little Spring up to? At the same time I stood up to walk the short distance to her room, she came and greeted me at the door:

My stomach dropped further but at the same time, I couldn't help laughing. I told her to come and show Daddy... we got to his office door at the same time he was coming out. And he laughed also.

While we took some more photos, we continued to laugh...







Once the initial laughter stopped, Big Spring and I looked at each, then looked down the hall to Little Spring's bedroom... the assumed scene of the crime. We began what seemed like the long walk down there and when we got to the door, we started laughing again, but this time, they were more laughs of nervousness rather than the jovial laughs from a moment ago.

On closer inspection, I realised how far flung (literally) the 'damage' was. She'd managed to flick/fling the sudocrem (weapon of choice) on her cot, in her cupboard and various spots around the room:

When Little Spring walked in the room (I do believe to admire her masterpiece), I caught a glimpse of the backside of her workmanship:

Under different circumstances, I might have been proud of how thorough she'd been!

I turned to walk out the door to prepare a much needed bath for my little artist and discovered truly how far Little Spring's efforts had gone:











I also noticed the trail she'd left when she first walked down the hall to show off her creation to me.

While I ran the bath, Big Spring was very helpful in cleaning up the cream from all the hard surfaces. The big job was going to be getting it off Little Spring and the carpet (Big Spring did a great job of getting much of it off the carpet, but it still needs work).

It took 3 baths, but Little Spring is now clean. She shouldn't be getting nappy rash anywhere on her body for a little while!

And the carpet? Big Spring looked up some websites to find out the best way to remove the remaining crem... a couple of sites told him that it couldn't be removed. Not so helpful, but he came across another one from Sudocrem's UK site...

Removing Sudocrem from Fabrics and Carpets

With little arms and legs waving about while you change your baby’s nappy, it can be easy to get a little Sudocrem on clothes or carpets. So here are a few handy tips to clean it up:

Step 1: Scrape off as much of the Sudocrem as you can with a blunt knife.

Step 2: If it’s a large area, work in sections a few inches square. Dampen the area with clean warm water.

Step 3: Apply mild, undiluted washing-up liquid to the stain with a nail-brush and work up a good lather – this is very important.

Step 4: Sponge off and rinse with warm water. Repeat if necessary.


Ha! I love their comment "With little arms and legs waving about while you change your baby’s nappy, it can be easy to get a little Sudocrem on clothes or carpets". If that was my problem, then I wouldn't really have a problem! But, they have some helpful information following, so I'm desperately hoping that it might work.

Little Spring has managed to spread the crem on many areas of the carpet (again, she's managed to fling it a lot, so there's lots of flecks of it everywhere, as well as the main damage area). It's going to be fun cleaning it up.

I must say, I think I've managed to keep my humour through most of this process, so if you'll now excuse me, I think I might go crawl into a ball in the corner and rock back and forth as I mutter to myself and go a little crazy, at least until I find the energy to clean the carpet... or it somehow cleans itself (a girl can dream, can't she?!).

Friday, February 3, 2012

End of Day

Wow! What a day it's been! Ready to hop into bed, but thought I'd share my day with you before I closed my computer for the night.

Picked up a friend to go retail shopping with her to get a new wardrobe (haven't bought new clothes in a year and thought it time for a freshen up!). On the way to the shops, someone in front of me at the intersection decided to reverse into me... and then drive off without stopping to exchange details:

Thankfully the dent has popped out a little, so it's not quite as bad as what it looks like in that picture... but we still need to get it fixed. I'm hoping the kind police officer who's looking into the driver's details can get a hold of the driver, so that we won't have to pay the excess on the insurance claim.

After that unnerving incident, it was certainly time for some retail therapy:


My first ever designer bag purchase! Thank you "Guess" for the wonderful bargain! The bag and 3 tops (not from Guess) was all we had time for as we had to get to the police station to follow up the 'hit and run'.

Got home and was organising the insurance claim for quite a while, then had time to relax before getting ready to go out for dinner and a basketball game with friends...

We had a delicious meal at a Vietnamese restaurant in town:













(Paul was a bit rushed to finish his delicious soup so we could get to the game!)







Once we got to the game (Cairns Taipans vs Townsville Crocodiles) we had an absolute ball! The atmosphere of the crowd was amazing and you couldn't help but get involved as well!

A close game, but Taipans came out victorious!

After a drive home, via a friend's house to drop her off, that basically ended a very interesting and eventful day!

How was your Friday?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Life in Alphabet - R

is for Rain. We get a lot of if up here in Far North Queensland. After all, we're living in the tropics. Here, there are only 2 seasons - wet and dry. We are currently in the wet season. And it's definitely wet! Unfortunately the rain doesn't really ease the heat... it just makes it all the more humid. Although, you know when the rain is coming, because the air becomes especially thick... and you just hang out for the thunder storm to come so that the humidity drops. For someone who loves the cold and winter, it's certainly interesting living up here in the tropics! God has a sense of humour, that's for sure!

Here are just some of the examples of how wet it gets:


The first video is the view from the front of our house recently. The 2 creeks in the road become 1 big river when it really starts to rain and we have our own waterfall that was once a driveway!

The second video is the view
from the back of our house recently. The pool manages to overflow often when there's been rain.

video
This footage was taken during a drive through the Kuranda Ranges around this time last year. Unfortunately Big Spring has to drive through this sort of weather when going to his second parish on the Tablelands. We're thankful for an all wheel drive vehicle and that it's not always raining. Big Spring has seen many small cars on his drive through the winding ranges that have driven into the side of the road/embankment because the cars couldn't cope with so much rain.